Zotero vs EndNote
Does anyone have any experience with EndNote vs. Zotero? I've used EN for ages, have it all customized, probably more than I need to, and basically love it, but for the subscription cost. But my students all use Zotero, and seem to like it. I'm just curious how it compares for academic applications (humanities). Assuming cost is not a factor too.
I think the only reason to use EndNote is if you want to be able to heavily customize reference types. If you are fine with the Zotero provided reference types or the work-arounds for things like treaties (that do not have a reference type), Zotero is more stable, cheaper, easier to use, and has several quality-of-life features absent in EndNote, such as the ability to extract highlights from PDF with Zotfile and save web snapshots. Metadata extraction is also far superior with Zotero.
If you really need to be able to customize reference types and you are on a Mac, Bookends is super customizable but not quite as polished as Zotero and has zero sharing features.
I use Bookends for personal writing (I work with obscure legal and international jurisdictions that do not work well with Zotero) and Zotero for teaching and some co-authoring (and just hand write legal citations) and this works fine. I have an EndNote license but I don't think I have used it for years.
I haven't looked far, but Zotero seems customizable if you want to play with a lower level of coding. That can be exhausting, I imagine, or tedious. (Not that getting it all right with EN isn't tedious at times; easier now than in the past.)
I'd agree that there's a limit on how far you can take Zotero item types -- some of the examples above, such as chapter in an authors own collection, just won't work well.
The greatest benefits I see with Zotero over EN are 1) If a publisher or database changes its structure it can take weeks or more for EN to fix its translators that import records from the website while with Zotero the problem is usually fixed within hours; 2) Bugs [or updates needed to adjust for changes made to various word processing software], too, are often fixed within hours of reporting; and 3) Technical support (for very basic or quite complex issues) is available here directly from Zotero's developers [and often from the lead developer] or from very experienced volunteers (24 / 7) sometimes within minutes of the request and, unlike EN's web support, you will never receive snarky unhelpful replies.
I'm somewhat biased by my experience with EN. In the midst of writing my doctoral theses in 2007 I switched from EN to Zotero because of EN bugs that slowed me down. Many colleagues and students have transitioned from EN to Zotero and I've only heard comments of pleasure about the switch. I still help students who use my university's license to free EN and some of what was mentioned (chapter in an authors own collection) isn't so easy with EN either.
I suppose I should cancel my interview for the EndNote helpdesk position, as I've been uncovered as unqualified for the task. I stand defeated. You shall have to take my word for it that I can be reasonably good at snark when provoked.²
¹a horrible condition that I've been told commonly afflicts those who, like me, live on the spectrum, and by extension affects those in their immediate vicinity.
²I promise I will do my best to end the gayety here as to prevent further pollution of the thread.
If I do, you will probably hear from me in the future. Snarky replies are more than welcome.
I'll stop now.
For me, it is largely the FOSS nature that has drawn me to Zotero (and that it runs on Linux). I also have it paired with Zettlr to do note-taking - the inter-operability is quite good.